By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — When it comes to the 49ers, San Francisco still has the name and Santa Clara has the stadium, but San Jose seems to be enjoying the spoils of the team’s latest gold rush.

For San Jose-based 49ers fans like Jesse Mendez, these are the best of times.

“My 415 people are not going to like this, but that’s where we’re at. We’re in the 408 now! So they’re here and they’re here to stay,” said Jesse Mendez.

Mendez is a member of a South-Bay based 49ers fan club called the 408 Empire. And he says it’s an empire rising.

“It’s growing considerably. Over the last two months, we have had a lot of new members who have joined,” said Mendez.

All over San Jose, there are signs of a growing 49ers fan presence. One example is a recently painted mural on a downtown building.

“We’re a block away from the SAP Center and we’re splashing the red and gold on the wall,” said artist Kevin Pride.

The mural was painted by Pride and his partners Tim Hon and Steve Ha. It was commissioned by the ‘Niner’s organization itself.

“They’re here, they live here, they’re winning. It’s a good experience all around,” Pride said.

When the 49ers played the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship at Levi’s Stadium last Sunday, an excited, overflow crowd packed the downtown San Jose watch party.

Downtown San Jose has become a sort of home base for 49er fans looking to commune with others, those coming from out of town or even visiting NFL teams.

“They play in Santa Clara and the closest big city is San Jose. Frankly the team since moving to Levi’s Stadium
has not been that stellar. So this is the first time we’re seeing the buzz,” said Scott Knies, of the San Jose Downtown Association.

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